THE BLESSEDNESS OF GIVING
THE BLESSEDNESS OF GIVING
To be a true giver from the heart is quite a rare thing. The overwhelming message that seems to pervade our culture is “me, me me”. “How can I be more happy and secure?” “How can I have and get it all together?” It has become much easier to focus on ourselves, when we are encouraged to be independent and strong, unique and bold in our pursuits in life. Now there is nothing wrong with tending to ourselves, and the lives God has given to us, however there must be a balance, otherwise we’ll grow to become so obsessed with having our own needs met all the time.
Giving must come from a heart that is selfless, and a heart that is divorced from demanding its own way. As a married woman, I cannot only think for myself. In my role and function as a wife, I have had to learn how to take care of another, and to consider another before myself. This hasn’t been at all easy and in fact has made me realise just how naturally selfish I can be in desiring to have my own way all the time.
There is a great blessedness in giving, and one cannot be a giver until their heart has released them to be so. Our first experience or lesson in giving, is when we give our lives to God the Father, and ask Him to be Lord and Saviour over it. This requires a total renunciation of the self, in order to take up the new life that has been offered to us by faith. However, we cannot give our lives to God if we haven’t first surrendered our hearts to Him.
Many of us may have heard or can recite the popular scripture “… it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and I have been thinking about why it is more blessed to give. Why does scripture suggest that we are in the preferred and favoured position when we extend our time, money resources, energy, prayers and such to another?
One of my goals this year, is to develop different intentional habits of giving when it comes to my home. I am looking at ways in which Stanley and I use our home as a welcoming, giving environment to all that come into it, and how we can cultivate deep friendships and fellowship with others -gathering, breaking bread, praying, sharing and appreciating God’s faithfulness to us.
I believe that the blessedness comes because, in giving wholeheartedly we cultivate a very profound practise of having a loose grip upon ourselves, and the things in the world. Jesus Christ could not have gone to the cross to die for us if He held onto His life so tightly. If He had not given up His life for us we would not have received salvation and its many blessings. As His children, we are called to therefore gladly imitate Him (Ephesians 1:5).
In giving of ourselves, and of our resources, we can identify with Christ and learn what it truly means to relinquish our desires, wants and preferences. There is a great blessing in this as it demonstrates that we have been crucified to the flesh and its wants as we consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
It is only children who demand their own way, and their own needs to be met. To be a giver demonstrates great spiritual maturity as we prize others and heavenly delights above ourselves. We cannot experience the true blessedness of giving until we set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). When our hearts are set on things above we tend to loosen our grip on things here on earth, and compared to spiritual things, they pale in significance.
What a beautiful sight it is to behold a woman who has completely released the grip and influence of the world from her heart. Such a woman is a delight to be around because she is so others focused. She is full of care and love, truly considering others beyond herself because she is assured that her provision does not come from that which is in her hand, but from God her ultimate source. She therefore gives cheerfully, and abundantely. This is my prayer!
Giving must first originate from our hearts, before it can be seen in action. Our motivation for cheerful and generous giving should be because it is pleasing to the Lord, and reflects Him to the world. I like this section from Randy Alcorn’s book The Treasure Principle:
As Paul stated, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Cheerful giving, therefore, should be a way of life for the Christian who understands the grace of God. When we give generously and with a willing heart, God assures us He will watch over us and provide for us (Isaiah 58:9; Psalm 41:1-3; Proverbs 22:9; 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11). And we need to remember that it’s not just our treasure that we are to cheerfully give back to God.
As King David pointed out, everything we have is from God (1 Chronicles 29:14), and this includes our talents and our time as well. As our days are numbered (Psalm 139:16), our time indeed belongs to God. And any gifts we have are also from Him; therefore, “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
May we grow to become women who give cheerfully and generously, and in doing so see the blessedness in it.
How are the ways do you give of yourself to others? Do you experience the blessedness in it?